Science in Canada's North

The Science in Canada’s North Program Series was implemented to attract  Canadians to explore the important issues facing Canada’s north.

Through the generous support of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, the Canadian Association of Science Centres (CASC) coordinated a nation-wide series of programs that connected the public with Arctic science researchers in meaningful discussion and learning.

Over four years, 15 participating Science Centre Members hosted 63 events with 128 speakers.  A peer-reviewed competitive funding process allowed science centres to apply for project funding to execute these events. The total value of the program to Canadian Science Centres was a $300,000 contribution from the W. Garfield Weston Foundation.



The W. Garfield Weston Foundation is a private Canadian family foundation, established in the 1950’s by Willard Garfield Weston and his wife Reta. In 1924 Garfield inherited his father’s company and during his life established bakeries and other successful enterprises throughout Canada and in many parts of the world. Today, these businesses include the George Weston Limited and Loblaw Companies Limited, companies in food retailing, processing and distribution. The founders believed that as the funds are generated through the hard work and success of these Canadian companies, grants should be given in Canada for the benefit of Canadians. For three generations, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation has maintained a family tradition of supporting charitable organizations across Canada. Today the Foundation directs the majority of its funds to projects in the field of land conservation, education, and science in Canada’s North. In addition, it provides funds to further Canada’s research in neuroscience.




Café Scientifiques are public engagement events that take place in an informal setting like a science centre, pub or restaurant. In these friendly settings, the public, scientists, and other researchers come together to share their perspectives on an important question that faces society today. The Science in Canada’s North Program Series will focus on questions that face Canada’s North and involve researchers working in the North and on Science in Canada’s North. 



Science in Canada's North 2012

Building on the success of existing partnerships of Science Centre’s across Canada with previous Café Scientifique programs, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation supported CASC in developing up to 10 new Café’s across Canada in 2012. The events were very successful in connecting youth with role models in arctic and northern science, they strengthened the capacity of science centre’s to execute the Café’s and provided a platform for northern science researchers to better communicate their work with the general public. The following final report summarizes the project.


Café Scientifique Series

Canadian Science & Technology Museum

Arctic Riches: Can We Balance Exploitation & Preservation?

Antoni Lewkowicz, Ph.D., Richard Fortier, ing., Ph.D. Anne Barker, M. Eng. 


Ontario Science Centre

Youth Event: More than Just Polar Bears: How is Science in Canada’s North Relevant

Adult Event: Does Arctic Science have an Impact on life in Toronto?

Peter Croal, CIDA, Dang Dang Gruben & Patrick Gruben, Inuvik. 


Nunavut Research Institute

Diamond Exploration in Canada’s North: What are the Impacts?

Dr. Herb Helmstaedt, Community Members

Saskatchewan Science Centre

Why Does the Arctic Matter to Regina?

Dr. Alec Aitken, Dr. Pomeroy

Science North

Science in the North: What Does the Future Hold?

Neil Comer, Ph.D., Gerard Courtin, Ph.D., Adrienne White, Charles Campbell


Science World British Columbia

Changing Landscapes – How is Northern Research Relevant to all Canadians?

Andrew Hamilton,Gwenn E. Flowers, Dr. Kirsten Zickfeld

“This was a fabulous lecture - speakers were all remarkable & knowledgeable about topics that were raised by the audience. The photos were especially compelling in allowing the audience to get a sense of the challenges & joys of arctic research.” 

Science World BC Café Scientifique Attendee – November 13, 2013


Science in Canada's North 2013

Café Scientifique Series

Manitoba Museum

Come break the ice and get to know your coldest friend, glacial ice!

Dr. David Barber,University of Manitoba and Canadian Research Chair in Arctic System Science, Dr. John Iacozza, University of Manitoba and Centre for Earth Observation Science; Dr. Graham Young,The Manitoba Museum.

What can polar bears call home in a growing human landscape?

Bill Watkins, Manitoba Conservation and Stewardship; Dr. Jane Waterman, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Manitoba; Dr. Stephen Petersen, Assiniboine Park Zoo and International Polar Bear Conservation Centre


Saskatchewan Science centre

Can Traditional Knowledge help to enhance the understanding of climate change impacts in Northern communities?

Willie Ermine,First Nations University of Canada.

Science North

Science in the North: Who Speaks for Canada’s Arctic?

Jeremy Brammer, Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University, Brandon Laforest, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, David Lickley, Wonders of the Arctic, Lickley Productions



Science World British Columbia

The Plight of the Polar Bear 

Alysa McCall, MSc student in Ecology, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta; Jill Fellows Instructor, Arts One, PhD, Philosophy, University of British Columbia; Ernie Cooper, Director, TRAFFIC and Wildlife Trade, WWF Canada

Narwhals: The Arctic Unicorn

Cortney Watt, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Manitoba; Isabelle Groc


TELUS World of Science Edmonton

Opening the Time Capsule: What Stories Can Receding Glaciers Tell?

Dr. La Farge, Ms. Williams, Dr. England 


Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre

Climate and the changing Arctic: what role should the Canadian public play?

Dr. Louis Fortier, Network of Centres of Excellence ArcticNet; Eric Solomon, Vancouver Aquarium

Narwhals, Arctic Whales in a Melting World

Todd McLeish, “Narwhals: Arctic Whales in a Melting World”

Science in Canada's North 2014

In 2014, the program expanded to offer different models of engagement such as youth symposia, lecturers accompanying films, exhibition events, etc., all of which allow greater geographic and demographic reach for the program.

One of the most successful programs in terms of attendance was a partnership between the Manitoba Children’s Museum and the London Children’s Museum, which shared resources and partnered with Parks Canada, the Assiniboine Park Zoo, Polar Bears International and the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre to create a slate of special events targeted to families and school groups, reaching close to 1,500 people directly through this program. Combined, recipients of the program hosted nine events across Canada, with an estimated attendance of 2,173 people representing all age groups, leveraged an additional $14,000 in new funds and created partnerships with 21 new partners.


Café Scientifique & Programs Series

Canada Science and Technology Museum

Preservation and Exploitation of the Arctic

Christopher Henderson, Lumos Energy; Michael van Aanhout, Stratos Inc.; Stephan Schott, , School of Public Policy & Administration, Carleton University 


Manitoba Museum

What is the human impact on whale populations on Hudson Bay

Amelia Fay, HBC gallery - Manitoba Museum; Kristen Westdal,  Arctic Conservation; Trish Kelley, University of Manitoba 

Montreal Science Centre

Réchauffement climatique : nous sommes-nous égarés ? 

Louis Fortier,  Response of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, Laval University

Musée Armand-Frappier

Quand le changement climatique menace la santé humaine. 

Dr. Pierre Gosselin,  Climate Change Research Program, Ouranos‐INSPQ ; Monique Bernier, Centre INRS‐ETE and Centre d’études Nordiques; Pierre Payment, Centre INRS‐IAF; Claude Villeneuve, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi


Science North

How will Climate Affect Health

Sherilee Harper, Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph; Bill Keller, Climate Change and Multiple Stressor Aquatic Research, Living with Lakes Centre, Laurentian University; Helle Moller, Department of Health Sciences, Lakehead University

TELUS World of Science Edmonton

Vancouver Aquarium

Arctic Perspectives

Eric Solomon, Vancouver Aquarium; Philippe Tortell, School of Ocean and Earth Sciences, UBC; Frank Tester, School of Social Work, UBC; Marc-Andre Bernier, UW Archaeology; Shelley Elverum, Pond Inlet 

Science in Canada's North 2015

While Cafe Scientifiques continued to be the programmatic format of choice for many members, others explored different models of engagement. 

The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre created the Online Arctic Marine Life Course to bring knowledge of the Arctic to Canadians. Presentations were held at science centres in four Canadian cities—Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Halifax—and were streamed live on the internet. The course covers 12 topics that are pre-recorded 30-minute lectures: an introduction to cetaceans, belugas, narwhals, benthic ecology, fishes and invertebrates, Greenland sharks, pinnipeds, seabirds, polar bears, ocean currents, plankton and pollutants

Science North hosted Science Speaker Series events that featured topics associated to the traveling exhibit Ice Age that was being showcased at the science centre at the time. Dr. Duane Froese presented his recent research that outlined how the populations respond to climate over the last several hundred thousand years, and the events that ultimately led to extinction.

Science Adventures, Yukon Research Centre – Yukon College held the only event north of 60 for the Science in Canada’s North Scientifique Series.  Scientists Visiting Classrooms Networking Event directly connected the local scientist community with the local education community. They had a total of 12 scientists (from a diverse number of careers and sectors) and 10 teachers (elementary and high school, representing over eight local schools).

To celebrate Polar Science Week, the London Children’s Museum hosted two events that informed children about climate change and community-researcher relationships in the Canadian Arctic. Both events were based around hands-on interactions through the lens of heritage management and archaeology.

Institute for Elementary Teachers at the Perimeter Institute was a workshop organized by Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation that provided educators with new and innovative ways of enriching their science lessons by offering them activity ideas, deeper knowledge in teachable subjects as well as opportunities to make cross-curricular links. The subject of Canada’s north was ideal to link both the science and social science curriculum at the elementary level. 





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